Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just love them, so please don't sue, it's Christmas.

Pairings: 4x3

Traditions

by Spencer

Trowa smiled ever so slightly as he watched the rainbow of lights, color, and movement swirl below him. Quatre sat to his right, full attention focused on the ballet being danced out on stage.

This was their first Christmas together, their first real Christmas, the holiday not being marred by threat of battle, and the two were sitting in the balcony of one of L4's most extravagant opera houses for their yearly performance of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker".

Though not Christian, Quatre still observed Christmas. He did not follow any rights of its religious origin, but the spirit of giving and magic seemed as if it were made for the sweet Arabian boy. For Quatre, Christmas was a never ending series of traditions, practices he had followed yearly with his father and the few sisters he had known. Trowa, having no real knowledge of the season himself, was following Quatre's lead, and letting his blond lover show him the holiday's magic as he saw fit. The reviving of many of his old traditions was hard on Quatre, this being the first time his father had not been with him, but with Trowa's encouragement, they were making their own memories of joy to fill the season.

One of these Winner traditions was "The Nutcracker", a ballet written by Tchaikovsky, an old Terran composer. Though initially unsure of the idea, Trowa had seen the knowing glitter in his love's blue eyes and suspected that he would enjoy whatever Quatre had planned. His faith had gone by no means un-rewarded.

Trowa had never seen a ballet before tonight, and frankly had not ever considered the art as something he might enjoy. He had always assumed ballet to be a pastime reserved exclusively for the rich, a circus for the upper classes, hence his hesitation, but by the end of the first scene had changed his opinion dramatically. This was an art form all its own, caring nothing for class or stature, a beautiful expression of life.

His golden angel had surprised him again, fostering a love Trowa himself had never even guessed at.

Quatre surprised him constantly, revealing talents, memories, passions, and sharing them with him, always bringing them closer than they had been the day before. He also found these things in Trowa with an ease and accuracy that both frightened and elated the stoic pilot. It often seemed that Quatre knew him better than he knew himself, and the knowledge was comforting. Not only was his lover sharing his own soul, but he was discovering pieces of Trowa's that he had thought long gone. Together, they were healing, and growing.

Now, be it by intuition, empathy, or merely a lucky guess, his angel had done it again, offering Trowa the gift of a new passion, a new piece of himself.

The music and movement of the dance actually appealed to him, a blending of two of his talents. The more he watched, the more he realized that the sophisticated dance required many of the same skills as piloting a mobile suit, complete control of both mind and body, and the physical ability to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

He had been sure to share this discovery with Quatre during intermission, and his lover's face had glowed with his appreciation.

"I knew you would like it," he smiled brightly, the expression softening his features beautifully and giving them a flushed radiance. "It suits you." He reached a warm hand up to caress Trowa's cheek. ". . . graceful . . . beautiful . . . exquisite . . ."

Trowa was just thinking the same things about his golden lover, and would have told him so in a bit less vocal manner, had the lights not dimmed and the curtain opened. As the music started Quatre gave him a look laden with promises for later that night, and the green-eyed boy settled back in his seat for the second act. Quatre shifted just a bit so he could lean into his taller lover, eyes never leaving the stage, and Trowa had to chuckle. How one person could be so passionate about so many things constantly amazed him. Quatre could devote more attention to the stage than any other patron there, yet still manage to make Trowa feel like the center of his universe. And he displayed this sort of emotion over so many things!

During the war, no one had been able to see it, his energy stolen by the horrors of killing, but now Quatre possessed more life and energy than even the braided wonder. His mind was always filled with music and art and beauty, and Trowa knew he was the luckiest person alive to have that world revealed to him, piece by piece.

His attention was once again drawn to the stage as a flurry of dark brown, the color of rich chocolate, swirled around. It seemed a series of dancers was performing now, in groups of twos or threes, each performing a dance native to - or at least symbolic of - their countries.

Trowa briefly wondered if their would be any clowns, but quickly decided the rest of the costumes were amusing enough to make a clown's presence moot.

As the chocolate dancers finished their routine and moved off to the left, the music suddenly changed. The rhythm became an exotic waltz, tapped out by oboes and clarinets, evoking images of windswept deserts and fiery sunsets. Tiny bells rattled beneath the quiet patterns, stilling the audience, making everyone catch their breath to hear.

Trowa felt Quatre shift toward him and snaked an arm around the slender waist, allowing the blond to move even closer. He leaned up, cerulean eyes still locked to the stage, and whispered in his lover's attentive ear, "This is my favorite."

Two dancers took center stage, both dressed entirely in glowing gold. Trowa kissed his lover's hair, acknowledging the likeness, and was delighted when the blond head slid up under his chin. The dancers had a distinctly Arabian design to their costumes, layer upon layer of light gauze flowing around legs , held in place at ankles and low on waists by a slightly thicker and more reflective cloth trim. The sturdier gold material wound around the woman's top, but her midriff was bare, revealing the well muscled stomach and tiny gold ring.

Trowa smiled, imagining such an adornment on Quatre. Despite the fairly conservative side most of society saw, the decoration seemed to fit well with his blond lover's tastes. He glanced down at the tiny piercings in each of the blond's ears and smiled again.

Quatre *did* have an affinity for gold rings . . .

His fingers tightened instinctively around the band on his finger as his attention returned to the dance.

The man's chest was completely bare and both dancers wore many jingling gold bracelets on wrists and ankles, creating a slight tinkling when they moved.

As the haunting melody entered the music the pair began to move, twisting and twining about each other in beautiful patterns. The light shone off their costumes, dazzling their audience and sending strange patterns of light and shadow swirling across the house. They sank and rose in rhythm to the music, never rushing against the soothing beat, but never lethargic, moving with a tempo and grace that was all their own. As the dance became more involved the steps grew more daring, hands and arms dancing in intricate designs. For long moments the two bodies would seem to mingle, becoming one graceful and exotic creature, hands supporting legs supporting torsos and heads, a mass of graceful asymmetry. The pair were really more acrobats than dancers, lifting one another high in the air and supporting maneuvers impossible for a soloist. They seemed to fit perfectly, each one supporting the other, joining his or her own abilities to reach completion - soulmates.

The music rose with the passion of the dance, and Trowa sought Quatre's smooth hand. He was delighted when the thin fingers twined with his own, matching the lovely bodies on stage, and the two in the balcony were drawn into the dance.

As the music faded and the duet ended, Trowa wasn't quite sure whether his heart had been racing wildly or had stopped altogether. He took a moment to merely savor the last ringings of the waltz in his ears and breathe the exotic scent of his lover's hair, matching so perfectly with the display he had just witnessed.

The little blond had surprised him again, offering up a part of himself the hardened mercenary would never have imagined possible. 'Arigatou, tenshi.'

He felt his lover awaiting verdict and slowly leaned down to one shell of an ear. "That was beautiful, koi."

Quatre turned ever so slightly to deliver the lightest of kisses to his exposed cheek. "Merry Christmas. Ai shiteru," he whispered, and with that turned back to watch the rest of the ballet, cradled in his love's warm embrace.

Trowa smiled, his eyes softening in the darkness. 'Yes, this is definitely a tradition I can enjoy.'

* * * Owari * * * The End.

Merry Christmas to all my readers, and may your season be filled with as much magic. ^_^